Anointed: Divine Wistfulness

1 Samuel 8:4-20, 11:14-15

Welcome to our continuing summer worship series, “Annointed.”  Each week we’ll draw insight and inspiration from the lives of three figures from the Hebrew scriptures—Samuel, Saul, and David—and we’ll examine more closely the persistent love of God for an often rebellious people.

This morning’s scripture recalls a time before Israel had kings. In faithfulness God heard the people crying out in Egypt. God delivered them from captivity. God brought them through the wilderness, gave them the law, and brought them into the land which was promised to their ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. While other nations had earthly rulers—kings, emperors, regents and sovereigns of all kinds, Israel had God as their Lord. God’s people were in a living relationship with God, who was their true leader and protector, sending them help whenever it was needed.

But God’s people wanted more. They cried out for an earthly king, someone they could show to other nations. Although Samuel protested, God acquiesced and granted their wish. There is a certain wistful sadness in the voice of God as the chosen people, once upon a time set apart to be a light to the world, now become a nation much like every other.